The State Department wants Egypt's opposition to reverse its declared boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Spokesman Edgar Vasquez says the U.S. is encouraging all Egyptian parties and potential candidates to compete in the staggered vote, which starts in April. He says the elections offer Egyptians an opportunity to have their voices heard.

The main opposition group, the liberal and secular National Salvation Front, declared Tuesday it would boycott the elections. The announcement is likely to add to Egypt's political instability.